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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Sales Strategy: Lost leader, or lost cause?

Lost Cause Price Tag photoWalking through a department store, I noticed a rack loaded with golf shirts and a sign that said, “$7 and up.” The placard created an expectation of what I might find when I looked the goods over.

I expected that I might find zero items priced at under $7, perhaps several items at or near the $7 price, and maybe a few items priced at $10 to $20. Reasonable? I thought so. 

But the first item I looked at had two stickers on the price tag, one stating $30 and the other $50.  Searching further through the rack, I found several garments in that $30-50 price range, many in the $20-30 range, and only two that were under $12. I decided the signage was terribly misleading:  It should have said $7 and WAY UP!

The idea behind point-of-purchase advertising is, of course, to get the shopper’s attention and inspire them to come look. But when the claim is seen as misleading, getting all that attention can backfire. And that got me thinking about how we, as sales people, strive to gain attention among the prospects we’re calling on.

We want to get the attention of that prospect. But getting it with an offer that is too good to be true, or a promise that might be difficult to live up to, can result in more harm than good.

It can earn you the wrong kind of attention, and doom your sales conversation from the start.

By the way, those shirts at the department store were branded with a favorite baseball team of mine, and made of very nice fabric. I might have paid a higher price for such quality.  

But they led me to expect something closer to $7… so instead of being inspired to buy, I was only inspired to blog. 

Have you had an experience like this?  Thoughts?  Leave us a comment!


Mike Anderson is VP of Consumer Insights and Communication at

The Center for Sales Strategy

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Topics: customer satisfaction setting expectations sales strategy Sales target persona